Australia ramped up its military response to deadly flooding in the country's northeast Tuesday, as troops prepared for a massive clean-up operation following storms which killed four and left thousands of homes swamped.

Heavy rains and flooding triggered by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald have inundated the states of Queensland and New South Wales, with the most recent fatality a three-year-old boy killed by a falling tree.

Tens of thousands of people have been left isolated or displaced by the torrents, but after rivers peaked in most areas late Tuesday waters began to drop gradually and troops started to prepare for a mammoth recovery effort.

"We're planning to have some troops on the ground hopefully within the next 24 hours. It looks like waters will recede and we'll be able to gain access," Brigadier Greg Bilton told reporters.

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